Books I Bought in 2006
I'm afraid book reviews are on hiatus. You will find
here brief reviews of books through 2011, longer reviews through fall
of 2014, and then nothing. Sorry! I got distracted trying to
finish a game and then never got back to reviewing.
I acquired 93 books in 2006.
Was this the fourth one? It was okay, but I was tired of this series
by book three. Fforde should have put the ending (which was cute) at
the end of book 2 and gotten on with something else.
- Fforde, Jasper
- Something Rotten
Charming and moves right along, which means Gaiman has avoided all the
reasons I disliked American Gods. Still has all the good parts of
American Gods -- plus funny -- so, basically, read this.
- Gaiman, Neil
- Anansi Boys
More of my design-collecting fetish.
- Levy, Jennifer; Danto, Arthur C.
- 397 Chairs
Full of entertaining bits, and things happen, but I'm not sure there's
- MacLeod, Ken
- Learning the World
Definitely no story. Narration goes off rails, finds some new ones,
goes off them too. I think the main character spends a lot of time
bummed out, either because he's a eunuch or for some other reason.
- Isaak, Elaine
- The Singer's Crown
I like when McKillip does contemporary. I am told the sense of place
is completely wrong for -- New England? (sorry, my copy may be
unpacked yet but I'm not at home) -- in any case, I don't care. Mad
characters are still sparkly and delightful against a modern backdrop.
- McKillip, Patricia A.
- Solstice Wood
Contains the very short story that Snake Agent was founded
upon. Lots of other stories with similar atmospheres, although they're
not otherwise related. I liked enough of these to recommend it,
particularly if you liked Snake Agent (see below).
- Williams, Liz
- The Banquet of the Lords of Night & Other Stories
Contains "Rules of Moopsball". Also, as it turns out, a story that was
expanded into The Memory of Whiteness, but the Moopsball piece is the
one that will live in fannishness forever.
- Knight, Damon (ed.)
- Orbit 18
Preternatural romance called. Briggs is the latest author to
answer. This is a solidly-written entry in the subgenre, which is
good, because the subgenre is now too full for crap to get by on
sparkly-new ideas and steamy sex. It's werewolves, although the
protagonist is not one herself. The blending of pack nipping-order
and politics is convincing.
- Briggs, Patricia
- Moon Called
End of series, honest for real this time. As I said in some previous
commentary, only the first book is really compelling -- you read the
rest if you want to hang out with the folks and have some more
adventures. They're nice folks.
- Berg, Carol
- Daughter of Ancients (Bridge of D'Arnath, book 4)
Many, many old saws, which were new at the time. Remember what I said
about a subgenre which gets by on sparkly ideas? SF/F stories set in a
bar was an older one, although to be fair, short-shorts don't need an
- de Camp, L. Sprague; Pratt, Fletcher
- Tales from Gavagan's Bar
I only barely remember the storyline here. Earth's ecology collapses
and humanity has to do something else. This was a grand vision of the
future, only not well-developed enough to become a classic.
- Shedley, Ethan I.
- Earth Ship & Star Song
Compelling series opener. Loveable thief girl grows up wild on the
streets, except none of that "loveable" crap. She's desperate,
constantly on the brink of starvation, and good at stabbing things and
running away. She has to learn to understand her magical talent
(which, being totally uneducated, she narrates in a very idiosyncratic
way) while finding allies (which are not the same as "a loving home
and replacement parents").
- Palmatier, Joshua
- The Skewed Throne
A collection of short stories. The background is a mix of Greek gods,
time travel, tall tales, and other stuff I've forgotten. This mix does
not hold together.
- Bowes, Richard
- From the Files of the Time Rangers
Episode in the Nightside series; ends a story arc. Predictably, Green
is not able to carry off all the omens and import that he's been
building up over ?six books, but he has a jolly good try.
- Green, Simon R.
- Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth
Stomped all over the 2006 awards, because it's good. Today's reason
for all the stars going out is that Earth is in a time bubble.
Therefore, we get to experience the grand vision of the future in one
generation of viewpoint: terraforming, alien human civilizations, the
death of the Solar System. This works fantastically well, and I only
wonder why nobody has done it before... oh, right, Stapledon and that
Sheffield one. Wilson must be a good writer or something.
- Wilson, Robert Charles
Broderick has a crush on Zelazny's Amber series. If you do too, re-read
- Broderick, Damien
Dennett calls for religious behavior to be studied in all the ways
that you might expect would freak out non-atheists: anthropologically,
sociologically, biologically, evolutionarily, memetically. Only has
the barest sampling of such studies; Dennett is mostly
counterarguing-in-advance the objections and the freaking-out. If you
think humans can never or will never study themselves that way, this
is an interesting book. If you think you already do it because you're
an SF fan, you should probably read the book anyway, if only to cure
your naivete about how hard sociology is. If you want to understand
religion, this book will not solve your problem.
- Dennett, Daniel C.
- Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Reading this book is like petting a fluffy cat. The cat is a dragon,
who is British and modest, and he's got a human captain, and it's the
Napoleonic War, and it's wonderful comfort food.
- Novik, Naomi
- His Majesty's Dragon
Good wrap-up to good, original take on the
teens-with-superpowers-fighting-demons thing. Things turn out to be
more complicated than we thought, and war costs and costs.
- Westerfeld, Scott
- Blue Noon (Midnighters, vol 3)
This is the middle of the series, so "more of same," meaning more
pretty-good kid adventure serial so I'm happy with it. They're coming
out awfully far apart for such short books, though. I hope Nix isn't
tired of the series.
- Nix, Garth
- Sir Thursday
Further developments in the contemporary-design series. The bracelets
push and then disintegrate the notion of "you wear it on your wrist,"
which is nifty, plus many of them are beautiful. The wooden bowls are
- Kransen, Charon; Le Van, Marthe (ed.)
- 500 Bracelets
- 500 Wood Bowls
Saw these cheap, so I bought them. I read them when I was eight, just
like you did. I was surprised how little I remembered of The Zero
Stone, but it turns out it was good.
- Norton, Andre
- Sargasso of Space
- The Zero Stone
Boy and dragon go to China.
- Novik, Naomi
- Throne of Jade
These get downright mathematical.
- Peters, Jan; Kieffer, Susan Mowery (ed.)
- 500 Baskets
Lots of cool stuff, but not quite satisfying. Big flashy ending...
well, you'd call it big if you hadn't seen Vinge turn off stars and
steamroll galactic civilizations in his previous books. Which is an
unfair comparison; this is a near-future piece. My point is, it's a
big flashy ending that doesn't seem to resolve very much. Feels like
Vinge wanted the big and the flashy but didn't really have an ending
in mind, so he threw fireworks onto some plot elements and called it a
- Vinge, Vernor
- Rainbows End
It's a dark night in the Chinese afterlife and everybody's got a small
flaw in his character. No, the book doesn't have that line, but it
might as well. Detective-Inspector Chen doesn't live in Hell, but
sometimes he has to go there on police business. The afterlife
bureacracy is just as mucked-up as the mundane one, which makes this
both perfect Chinese myth and perfect noir procedural. My only
complaint is that Williams tries to be funny and doesn't quite know
how. Hopefully she'll get better at that in the sequels.
- Williams, Liz
- Snake Agent
Obsessively detailed rendering of the TV show's scripts; perfect for
the obsessed fan (i.e., me). Packed with notes about changed lines,
cut and added scenes, production details, who argued with who on the
set and how that affected the episode, etc, etc. Bonus essays on
various people responsible for the series (it wasn't just McGoohan and
a weather balloon); also a couple of unused episode outlines. Must
grab volume 2.
- Fairclough, Robert (ed.)
- The Prisoner: The Original Scripts, Volume 1
I'm sticking to paperbacks for the Harry Dresden series, which means
I'm now permanently behind. My memory says this one has more action
and less character development, which doesn't bother me. No, I'm
probably confusing character development with hot vampire/faerie sex.
My mistake. This one has character development, and also zombie
dinosaurs, so win-win. (In case you're the last Dresden fan to hear,
he's turning into a Sci-Fi Channel series this month. I'm optimistic.)
- Butcher, Jim
- Dead Beat
Spider is now a grumpy old guy. This is a collection of grumpy essays.
Once or twice he slips into telling an anecdote, and the readability
rockets up, but then he goes back to grump. It doesn't help that he's
down on the Internet and up on people who want to smoke, scoring zero
with me both ways.
- Robinson, Spider
- The Crazy Years
Third book. (But not the end of a trilogy. These books are reasonably
self-contained, but the series plot-line shows no sign of ending.) In
case you're the last Temeraire fan to hear, Peter Jackson optioned
this for a movie. Note that "optioned" is a long way from "making it",
especially if Eragon drives the dragon movie market into a sinkhole
and then pees on it with the fury of a thousand once-burned studio
- Novik, Naomi
- Black Powder War
Stand-alone novel about engineers. An Alien Artifact Enters the System
and only our hero comet-drillers can reach it. They then have
arguments. Reynolds makes a creditable (but not very convincing)
attempt at having the backbone of his story be the rivalry between two
women, both of whom (being engineers) are sure they know how to deal
with everything. The coolness of the alien artifact covers the cracks.
- Reynolds, Alastair
- Pushing Ice
Shinn stepped out of the revolving door of SF/F romance to do The
Safe-Keeper's Secret, which was (deliberate irony) a frank and
disarming YA fantasy. This one is set in the same world; but the story
is more contrived and awkward. Still nice.
- Shinn, Sharon
- The Truth-Teller's Tale
Sequel to Night Calls, a fixup in which a girl with the Sight grows
up in backwoods-settler country. This novel is a single story; still
- Kimbriel, Katharine Eliska
- Kindred Rites
Graphic novels about a passenger liner that crashes on a low-tech
planet, leaving the few survivors inexplicably omnipotent. Protagonist
wants nothing more than to stagger around the rest of his life
creating beers for himself. He can't avoid getting caught in more
important events. Has the right funny-serious tone.
- Rowles, Chuck
- Going Home, book 1 (The Gods of Arr-Kelaan)
- Going Home, book 2 (The Gods of Arr-Kelaan)
Two "new style" role-playing systems, meaning that they're founded on
a simple storytelling mechanic rather than a combat or
skill-simulation mechanic. These are small books -- no spell tables or
artifact lists. In Sorcerer you are bound to a demon who can do
magic for you; it has needs and you have desires, so how much are you
willing to pay? Nine Worlds is a Greek geocentric milieu in which
you manage a list of story goals ("free my love from Hades") instead
of a list of skills, and counterbalanced honor-vs-glory instead of hit
- Edwards, Ron
- The Sorcerer's Soul
- Nine Worlds
Modern urban fantasy turned up to 11: wizards with cellphones,
dragons, the Faerie Queens, immortal conspiracies, armies of trees.
It's war (human-vs-elf, light-elf-vs-dark, dragon-aiyee-run-away) but
Bear vindictively avoids taking sides. She is self-assured enough to
make all this satisfying for me, but you may disagree.
- Bear, Elizabeth
- Blood and Iron
Second book in ?four-ology about a wizard and a thief on the run, each
of whom is a whirling tornado of emotionally fucked-up. This time
they're running towards something (and Felix is no longer
schizophrenic) so the story has more drive. I'm tempted to say that
Melusine and The Virtu are half-novels that form part one of a
duology -- but I say this in retrospect of Melusine. Never mind,
it's all about the character narration.
- Monette, Sarah
- The Virtu
Post-scarcity post-humans volunteer for a cripplingly primitive
lifestyle experiment: mid-20th-century Earth. Experiment turns out to
be More Than It Seems. Stross is down off the pure-idea buzz of
Accelerando, but this social commentary isn't incisive enough to be
a replacement. Fortunately, the plot holds up adequately.
- Stross, Charles
Rollicking adventure with politics on a dodecahedral planet. People
have magical talents, which cost in subtle or obvious ways. If that
sounds stock, remember that Duncan has been making stock fantasy
rollick for decades now. Part one of two.
- Duncan, Dave
- Children of Chaos
Got a few chapters in, was bored blind, threw it aside.
- Park, Paul
- A Princess of Roumania
Gonzo-fun romp about the first long-con man in fantasy city. The
setting is a take on Renaissance Venice, which is also a nice change.
Much blood and revenge. This is a complete story but some plot threads
carry forward into a (planned) long series.
- Lynch, Scott
- The Lies of Locke Lamora
"Book 3" is all I can say. I suspect this series will read better all
at once, but I have no self-control.
- Stross, Charles
- The Clan Corporate (The Merchant Princes, book 3)
The late-80s magical-surrealism comic book series, collected as
graphic novels. If you are turned on by the idea of the Brotherhood of
Dada, or a villain who has every superpower you aren't currently
thinking of, you should read these.
- Morrison, Grant
- Crawling from the Wreckage (Doom Patrol, collection 1)
- The Painting That Ate Paris (Doom Patrol, collection 2)
- Down Paradise Way (Doom Patrol, collection 3)
Conclusion to a two-parter which is intended as a trenchant criticism
of Tolkien. To Carey's probable chagrin, the series fails as
criticism/analysis, but succeeds pretty well as unashamed Tolkien
imitation. Only with more sympathetic villains, which is nice.
- Carey, Jacqueline
Twenty years after Swordspoint, forty-ish before The Fall of the
Kings. Where Swordspoint was a prickly romance and Fall mused
about the romance of lost magic, Privilege is a tight dissection of
class and gender roles in the changing fantasy city. Or rather, it's a
excellently-rendered growing-up narration of a country girl who comes
to the big city and learns to duel -- with social issues shining out
from behind every crack. Fully readable on its own, but if you've read
the other two, this illuminates various characters from new angles.
- Kushner, Ellen
- The Privilege of the Sword
Vlad finally gets a decent meal. This book does much to set up coming
alarums and emergencies, but doesn't do a lot of plot advancement. So,
polar opposite to Issola. I am okay with alternation, but Brust
would be better served by a more even mix, particularly if the books
are going to appear at four-year intervals.
- Brust, Steven
Long-awaited conclusion to three-book set (but not really a trilogy)
about a thief who makes good. (Heh heh.) Once again, a book to read
for the great company, although this time they're viewed by an
- Turner, Megan Whalen
- The King of Attolia
I declare Sanderson to be the new Dave Duncan. Big fat fantasy about a
rebellion in the land oppressed by the Dark Lord. Complicated magical
talents that the author describes in obsessive detail. Lots of
politics. Unashamedly fun. This is the beginning of a series, but it
does have a satisfying conclusion (yes, the confrontation with the
Dark Lord, and guess how that goes? Wrong.)
- Sanderson, Brandon
1940s British country-house murder mystery, with political
complications. Excellently narrated by two very different characters.
I've read too many reviews of this to believe that you haven't read
any, so I'll stop there.
- Walton, Jo
Better than the worst Powers. I think it's not as good as his best,
but I thought that about Last Call and then changed my mind after a
couple of rereads. I will reread this and decide then. In any case,
it's got ghosts, Einstein, time machines, Charlie Chaplin, and the
weirdness locus that is Hollywood.
- Powers, Tim
- Three Days to Never
Big, detailed fantasy world in which magic is done by enslaved demons.
The demons are not thrilled with their role. This is politics top to
bottom -- but since it's one demon to one mage, and one demon can give
a winning edge to an entire city, it's really personal politics.
Beginning of an ambitious series (unsure of planned length) which
looks like a winner from here.
- Abraham, Daniel
- A Shadow in Summer
Not much to say: the fifth of an unboundedly-long fluff preternatural
romance series. It still has momentum -- that is, the overall
situation continues to change. I still like it.
- Caine, Rachel
- Firestorm (Weather Warden, book 5)
In a distant future run by big corporations, a few men challenge
themselves with the deadly sport of... Okay, this could describe any
number of books, but this one is fairly well-done. The martial arts
ring true (at least from my standpoint of a couple of years of
aikido). The characters are broadly drawn but engaging. I am told this
is a precursor to a bunch of other books, but I didn't know that when
I read it and it was fine.
- Perry, Steve
- The Musashi Flex
Straight-up kids' story about a kid in Faerie New York. She has
adventures. This is not irony or a dark adult take; it's an adventure
for pre-teens to enjoy. Note: my copy vibrates when I take the Red
Line from Harvard to Central. If you need to locate the Genius Loci of
Boston, you know where to look.
- Sherman, Delia
Very eccentric ramble through a Greater Universe with an Eternal War.
Characters drift from one setting and role to another. There seems to
be an overall plot, but it's hard to pin down, particularly since this
is only the first half of the story. I liked it for its mix of
Miltonian and modern-punk tropes: angels in a tattoo parlor, being
etched with Enochian symbols of power. This also conveys the unbounded
infinity of the Greater Universe better than anybody since Zelazny.
However, I suspect it's a love-it-or-bored-by-it book.
- Duncan, Hal
Epic quest on a world of magic, only the magic is out-of-control
nanotech. (Nagata does this much, much better than Chalker.) The
society is carefully thought out, not made of stupid people, and quite
a bit stranger than your fantasy goggles lead you to assume.
- Nagata, Linda
Gritty feudal fantasy. Our boy aspires to be a knight, but the piece
of land his father scrounged for him comes unscrounged. Now what the
heck is he going to do? This is a world where even tournament combat
can easily leave you with broken fingers or sprained shoulders --
which is to say, a realistic world -- but it also has magic. Of the
Norse persuasion: lots of dooms and vengeance from beyond the grave.
Pleasant, but did not convince me I had to keep reading the series,
particularly not in hardcover.
- Keck, David
- In the Eye of Heaven
Far-future novella: Earth is dying, humans are wispy asexual
creatures. They have a male in stasis, and they periodically (rarely)
need to raise a fertile female to mate with him and get some more
genetic bafflegab. This is a dreamy little (non-porny) romance, but
I didn't care much.
- Nazarian, Vera
- The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass
Graphic novel anthology. (Is that a contradiction in terms?) Okay, a
collection of short comics by different authors, on the general theme
of "Flight". Very wide range, although it tends towards the cute.
- Kibuishi, Kazu (ed.)
- Flight (vol 3)
Collection of stories, of which I think I'd seen nearly all before.
But if you don't have a copy of "A Study in Emerald", this is a good
place to get it.
- Gaiman, Neil
- Fragile Things
A collection of essays related only by Tufte's interest in design.
This has the "sparklines" essay, the "PowerPoint suxxors" essay, and
one on how to mount garden sculpture.
- Tufte, Edward R.
- Beautiful Evidence
I think Pratchett's "young adult" Discworld books are drifting towards
being the same as the "adult" ones, except shorter and with Tiffany
Aching. This is not a complaint, just an observation. Wintersmith is
- Pratchett, Terry
Space pirates! Okay, freefall pirates in a giant air-bubble. All of
Schroeder's usual care for social constructions (when every state is a
rag-tag fleet of floating platforms around a hand-tended fusion sun,
what is the ecology of nations?) plus fleet engagements, revenge, a
voyage of discovery into a lost world, a kid growing up, ancient
technology, adventure, and maybe a little bit of true love. There will
be sequels, which I am happy about.
- Schroeder, Karl
- Sun of Suns
Best Jones in a while, I'd say. Usual magical follies, but with a
non-silly thread: the old grandma of the extended family is going
senile and isn't competent to live on her own. But she's still the
most powerful witch in the clan, and perfectly capable of making
everybody's life hell. What now? This gets tangled with family feuds,
old wars with the Little People, the usual crop of teenage wizards,
and the Crestomanci (who for once doesn't know as much as he thinks he
does). The tone is a little more uneven than Jones's best, but she's
still got it.
- Jones, Diana Wynne
- The Pinhoe Egg
I still think Bujold was watching "Firefly" the whole time she was
writing the dialogue for this. Explicitly New-World-settlers fantasy,
with small towns of farmers and nomadic tribes. Only the nomads are a
distributed military culture dedicated to hunting down "malices"
(demons). Our heroine falls in with one of them, and then -- the
smoochies. There is a certain amount of "nomads good; farmers idiots",
but shades of grey do creep in eventually. This is half a novel. More
specifically, it's half a Bujold novel, so it has all the characters
and the initial problem, but our heroes have not yet been dropped into
the cacky. This gives it a bit of a Mercedes Lackey feel, but I have
faith that the cacky is looming ahead.
- Bujold, Lois McMaster
- Beguilement (The Sharing Knife, 1)
Collection of essays about the food world. Lacks the brutality of his
first book, and the flagrant self-mockery of his TV show. Result:
- Bourdain, Anthony
- The Nasty Bits
Damn, I love art glass.
- Littleton, Maurine; Kieffer, Susan (ed.)
- 500 Glass Objects
Old-fashioned action movie in space. Politics, chase scenes, aliens,
people found dead. Starts, in fact, with a mysterious dying stranger
who lives just long enough to hand over an interstellar train
ticket. That tells you all you need to know.
- Zahn, Timothy
- Night Train to Rigel
Starts as Scribblies-style urban faerie fantasy. Ends bitter, bitter
black. Stemple must have seen one too many junkie friends die.
- Stemple, Adam
- Singer of Souls
This is "Jame hits military school" and the military school barely
survives it. Good old Jame. Not much is resolved here -- I think it's
really only part one of the original "military school" plotline. But
it's a return to God Stalk's more quirky and whimsical brand of
total chaos and disruption. I enjoyed that, particularly since I am
sure it's a temporary respite. (Complaint: the book design is
terrible, with a half-obscured cover title and internal maps at 72
- Hodgell, P. C.
- To Ride a Rathorn
This is a collection of counter-counterarguments to counterarguments
to Dennett's books on consciousness. (It has nothing to do with
Breaking the Spell, above.) As such, it's probably only interesting
to people who are already fans of Consciousness Explained etc.
- Dennett, Daniel C.
- Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness
Book two of fantasy series that I'm pretty pleased with. Our heroine
is now a figure of power in the city. She still carries her knife, but
now she has problems that can't be solved by stabbing: magic, famine,
barbarian invaders, corrupt merchants, and her questionably-gruntled
predecessor. She copes.
- Palmatier, Joshua
- The Broken Throne
Returns to the epistolary form of Sorcery and Cecelia. (But now the
menfolk are writing letters too. Admirably distinct voices.) The story
is fine -- more of same -- but it's nice to see the background world
evolving. It's not just fantasyland, it's semihistorical England, and
the "history" means change.
- Wrede, Patricia; Stevermer, Caroline
- The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years After
More "Bob Howard" spycraft-and-Cthulhiana. Writing these is clearly
more fun for Stross than a bucket of kittens, and so reading is too.
(Did you catch that the protagonist's initials are "BOFH"?) This one
goes consciously towards the gonzo-spy end of the spectrum, so the
lurking horrors are a little shortchanged. Nonetheless, terrific.
- Stross, Charles
- The Jennifer Morgue
I didn't like Hammered much, but Bear has gotten much better at
dropping in vast swathes of background without stopping the story dead
at the outset. This is a standalone in which a not-very-admirable
Terran empire is taking back a bunch of emancipated colonies (which
are not necessarily that admirable either). One colony is More Than It
Seems. It's a character story on top of politics on top of culture
clash, and all of these levels are well-done.
- Bear, Elizabeth
The first book in this series was pretty generic D&D fiction (albeit
in a D&D milieu that Baker invented himself). By the second book he's
figured out what story he wants to tell about his characters, so what
comes out is respectable fantasy. There are some excellent
world-building moments, too. I hope he turns to writing non-tied-in
- Baker, Keith
- The Shattered Land (The Dreaming Dark, book 2)
- The Gates of Night (The Dreaming Dark, book 3)
I am only halfway into this, due to disruptions of my reading schedule
(see below). Smith does big feudal politics (politics is this year's
theme, isn't it?) from the point of view of a kid at military school
(two more themes, come to think of it). The names and titles --
everybody has two or three of each -- take a few chapters to get used
to, but the YA viewpoint is metal-solid. (First line: "Let's go fight
the girls!") My only complaint is that the narration has potholes;
it's mostly tight-third-person, but sometimes jumps heads or goes
omniscient to make some point. Consistency would work better.
- Smith, Sherwood
Have not gotten to this.
- Wolfe, Gene
- Soldier of Sidon
Wrap-up of the highly-spread-out Rihannsu ("Romulan") series -- Duane
started it in the first era of Trek novelizing. The characters are all
smart, smart renditions of the classic Trek cast -- which is
tremendously satisfying to read. Unfortunately, they don't talk like
the classic cast, which is somewhat disappointing. I mean, Duane's
Kirk is a great captain and her McCoy is a great doctor and so on; I
just can't imagine Shatner or Kelley saying these lines. Nonethless,
we get a big windup for the Rihannsu, with some great moments, and a
bit of clever chamfering to fit this continuity in with the canonical
TNG view of the Romulans.
- Duane, Diane
- The Empty Chair (Star Trek)
I appreciate that someone is still willing to treat typography as a
fireworks factory rather than pavement. (Who was the last one -- Ellen
Raskin?) This faux-documentary rendering of a surreal horror incident
is entertaining if you're willing to put in the work to parse it
all. The footnotes stack three layers deep. Note that while the horror
genre's blends with F/SF take on the latters' emphasis on plot, the
classic ghost story is not a novel, and neither is this. A Thing
- Danielewski, Mark Z.
- House of Leaves [bought in 2004]
As the person said whom I borrowed these from: "Robin Hobb has pretty
much figured out how to end a novel now." Solid fantasy, and if I
didn't come out the other side transfigured, I can at least say that
all my predictions about where the plot was going were proven wrong.
Will be -- okay, borrowing -- the conclusion of the trilogy when it
- Hobb, Robin
- Shaman's Crossing [borrowed]
- Forest Mage [borrowed]
I started reading this in mid-December, which more or less blew out
the rest of the year (which is why I didn't get to the Wolfe). It
takes a few hundred pages to introduce a character who is not
repulsive, and another few hundred before I started caring what
happened to him. This does not seem like the best structure for a
novel. And Clarke's consummate control of tone is not apparent until
the going gets very fey and strange -- at which point you realize that
all the dry fustiness is deliberate -- at which point you wonder why
she worked so hard to make her novel dislikeable. But I eventually
wound up intrigued by the history of English magic, mostly revealed in
footnotes, which is much stranger than the quasi-historical setting at
- Susanna Clarke
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell [borrowed]
Last updated January 4, 2007.
Books I own
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